This week Evert B. Person Theatre reopened its doors to the public, newly refurbished. Person Theatre is a 475-seat venue that opened in 1989 at Sonoma State University as the only theatre venue on campus.
With the addition of Weill Hall to the campus and with Schroeder Hall opening soon, the campus was looking to update Person Theatre for the first time in nearly 25 years.
Juliet Pokorny, the Performing Arts Production Manager, said that after it was decided to purchase lobby furniture and re-carpet the space, everything else fell into place.
“We were imagining what the space would look like with new carpeting and new lobby furniture and then we decided that we should probably paint it and buy a new main curtain,” said Pokorny.
The seats of Person Theatre are one of the more prominent changes; they feature a multicolored pattern where each seat is randomly assigned a different color. This pattern creates an illusion of a fuller audience due to the color variation. Because the seats were reupholstered and fully replaced, the university ended up saving money. Thaine Stearns, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, said the funds for the renovations were pulled from three areas of funding.
“Administration and Finance contributed about a third of the funds. A third of the funds came from Academic Affairs, which is the Provost’s office. Then finally a third of the funds came from the School of Arts and Humanities. In the School of Arts and Humanities is the Center for Performing Arts which is a part of their resources,” said Stearns.
Sonoma State hopes that this new renovation will not only benefit the students of the university, but the community as well. By providing this venue in the North Bay, Sonoma State University is hoping individuals will see the campus as the premiere venue to see stage productions. President Ruben Armiñana attended the reopening and believes the renovations are vital to creating a nice environment for the productions in Person Theatre.
“It’s a much nicer facility. It will enhance the productions that we have here. People enjoy watching productions and participating in a good environment and I think that Person Theatre will provide a good environment for enjoyment, learning and teaching,” said Armiñana.
The renovations have been completed just in time; Fiddler on the Roof opened this Thursday night kicking off the 50th year the play has been performed. Becca Schibler, stage manager for the production, says that she is enjoying some of the smaller refurbishments.
“My personal favorite part of the facelift is the addition of art from the university’s personal art collection. They are putting up photographs and other works of art in the lobby based off the show that is running in the theatre,” said Schibler.
Fiddler on the Roof is set to run from Feb. 7 to Feb. 17 in the newly renovated Person Theatre. For information on the theatre arts and ticket information for Fiddler on the Roof or any upcoming productions please visit www.sonoma.edu/performingarts.